The Malta rugby national team rubberstamped their dominance in the Conference South 1 when they hammered Andorra at the Hibs Stadium for their biggest win in the international arena and seal top spot in the European qualifiers.
It was a impressive performance from the Maltese who gave a lesson of expansive rugby to the helpless Andorrans to make it four wins out four.
Malta will now wait the winners of the Conference North 1 division for a promotion play-off next month.
Malta were off to a storming start as inside the first minute they scored the first try of the match. Rory O’Brien sparked the move with a scintillating run from the middle before teeing up Benjamin Borg who touched home. James O’Brien missed the conversion to leave the hosts 5-0 ahead.
The hosts were piling the pressure on the struggling Andorra defence who were forced in committing several infringements to try and keep out the Maltese forwards.
On 10 minutes, Andorran fly-half was sinbinned for an infringement and the Maltese soon made the most of their numerical advantage as they went on a driving maul that enabled Daniel Apsee to touch the ball over the line. James O’Brien cooly converted to put Malta 12-0 in front.
The Andorrans tried to fight their way back into the match and on 28 minutes they were boosted when Daniel Apsee was sent off for ten minutes for a high tackle.
Still the Andorrans could not take advantage of their numerical advantage as the Maltese managed to peg them into their own half.
Instead it was Malta who added to their score when Daniel Holliday powered through after a good choral move with O’Brien completing formalities from the conversion to put the hosts 19-0 ahead.
Andorra finally got on the board through a penalty by Daniel Carrington.
But that failed to derail Malta’s momentum as when play resumed soon laid siege to the Andorran goal with Clayton Cassar grabbing the team’s fourth try which was again converted by O’Brien.
At the start of the second half, Malta continued where they left off in the first half and inside the first four minutes they breached the Andorran defence yet again.
Christopher Dudman made all the spadework as his dazzling run took him past three opponents before playing in James O’Brien who powered through. O’Brien missed the conversion as Malta led 31-3.
There was only one team on the pitch now and five minutes later James Kirk exposed Andorra’s defensive frailties to put his name on the try scorers’ list. O’Brien kicked in the conversion to hand Malta a commanding 38-3.
The floodgates were now open and it was the turn of debutant Brandon Dalton to shine as he whizzed past four players to touch home.
The Andorrans looked down and out and Kirk further fuelled the party mood at the stadium with another blistering run to score underneath the posts. O’Brien fired in the conversion for a 50-3 scoreline.
Dalton continued to expose Andorra’s gaps at the back and he did well to pick up a Rob Holloway pass to score his second try and minutes later he completed his hat-trick when this time he was set up by James O’Brien – 60-3.
There was also time for Luke Watts, Matthew Spiteri, Rob Holloway and Dudman to put their name on the scoresheet as the Maltese completed their biggest-ever win.
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